Takara K

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166 years after his mysterious death, Edgar Allan Poe still fascinates us

Edgar Allan Poedied 166 years ago today, but nobody can agree how.<p>On Oct. 3, 1849, a newspaper typesetter named Joseph W. Walker came across Poe in a Baltimore gutter. The legendary author was wearing someone else's clothes, half-unconscious, and unable to explain how he ended up in the street. …

Literature

How much consciousness does an octopus have?

What about an iPhone? And how much consciousness can we meaningfully ascribe to someone in a coma?<p>Animals ranging from parrots to elephants continue …

Anti-Renoir protesters picket Boston art gallery

<b>Protesters have demonstrated outside a Boston art gallery that is showing work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, complaining that he "sucks at painting".</b><p>The group held placards bearing slogans like "God hates Renoir" and "Aesthetic terrorism" at the Museum of Fine Arts.<p>The protest was organised by the …

23 Short Stories You'll Want To Read Over And Over Again

And again and again.

Books

America's Largest Mental Hospital Is a Jail

At Cook County, where a third of those incarcerated suffer from psychological disorders, officials are looking for ways to treat inmates less like prisoners and more like patients.<p>It was 9 o’clock in the morning at Cook County Jail, but in the subterranean holding cells where dozens await their …

Amazon now ships some smaller items for free even if you don’t have a Prime membership

Amazon has found a new way to make sure every single item you ever buy comes from its online marketplace. In a message posted on Seller Central, Amazon outlines its new initiative called “Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light” that offers free shipping on thousands of smaller items without …

eCommerce

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus

A restaurant’s menu is more than just a random list of dishes. It has likely been strategically tailored at the hands of a menu engineer or …

Royal Family

The Psychology Of Skyscrapers

Could living in the sky subtly influence our perspective of space, distance, and height?<p>“Living in high-rises required a special type of behavior, one that was acquiescent, restrained, perhaps even slightly mad.” So declares the protagonist (rather presciently, a producer of television …

This Box Shows Tomorrow’s Weather On Your Table With REAL Rain And Clouds

Ken Kawamoto, a software engineer by day and gadget inventor by night, likes to “break the barrier between the digital world and the real world ,” …

The Psychology Of Why So Many People Are Anti-GMO

Scientists say that GMOs are just fine. But the public thinks otherwise. Are our fears rational?<p>Think of a science denier, and you might picture someone arguing that climate change isn’t real or vaccines cause autism. But the biggest chasm between scientists and the public is actually over GMOs: …

Agriculture

10 Of The Strangest Stories About Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard

Lafayette Ron Hubbard is a controversial figure. An explorer, a mystic, a bestselling author, a nuclear physicist . . . or so the stories go. The …

The Women Who Face More Traumatic Brain Injury Than NFL Players

Thirty years ago, Kerri Walker, now a coordinator for a domestic violence shelter in Phoenix, found herself inexplicably driving down the left side of the road into oncoming traffic. “It felt totally normal,” she said, recalling how she was oblivious to the danger. Walker escaped an accident that …

How your eyes betray your thoughts

A series of recent studies suggest that eye movements may both reflect and influence the workings of the brain<p>According to the old saying, the eyes are windows into the soul, revealing deep emotions that we might otherwise want to hide. Although modern science precludes the existence of the soul, …

The Brain

Public Art That Isn’t Garbage, but Collects It

Washington's experiments in community art haven’t always been great. But a new project with the city’s public-works trucks reflects the real D.C.<p>Public art is at its best when it’s divisive. But on this particular point, no one can argue: That’s some awfully pretty artwork on a truck that picks up …

Art

Human remains believed uncovered in search at Florida boys school

The first of many to die at a Florida reform school infamous for inflicting beatings and abuse is identified in official records only as "Unknown colored boy."<p>Researchers say he died in 1911. But his name, final resting place, and the reason for his early death remain a mystery.<p>He's not alone.<p>The …

Archaeology

America's Most Cultured Cities, According to Travel + Leisure

As much as foreigners love America, some are convinced the entire culture's based around what you can buy in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. And maybe …

New York City

History of medicinal plants: Map of the plants in the United States from 1932.

<i>The Vault is</i> <b>Slate</b><i>'s history blog. Like us on</i> <i>Facebook</i><i>, follow us on Twitter</i> <i>@slatevault</i><i>, and find us on</i> <i>Tumblr.</i> <i>Find out more about what this space is</i> …

Depression Can Double Risk for Stroke—Even When It's Treated

As if depression isn’t hard enough on the mind, the condition can also wreak havoc all over the body, increasing risk of health problems that at …

How Cycling Makes You Smarter and Happier

It's no secret that cycling makes you fitter. Research shows that it also sharpens your thinking and melts away stress. Here's how to maximize the cognitive benefits cycling.<p>Every morning Canadian neuroscientist Brian Christie, PhD, gives his brain an extra boost. We're not talking about tossing …

How to Help Someone Develop Emotional Intelligence

If you are one of the unlucky people who must deal with a clueless colleague or a brutish boss, you’re not alone. Sadly, far too many people at work lack basic emotional intelligence. They simply don’t seem to have the self-awareness and the social skills that are necessary to work in our …

I read books by only minority authors for a year. It showed me just how white our reading world is.

In 2014, I decided that for the entire year, I would not read books written by white authors. My goal was to address the reading practices I developed growing up in Australia, where white authors have dominated the literary world. My high school reading list was filled with the “classics” — …

Books

What’s the most we can remember?

People with extraordinary memory talents suggest that your mind may be capable of retaining more than you think, says Adam Hadhazy.<p>Unlike digital cameras with full memory cards that cannot snap any more pictures, our brains never seem to run out of room. Yet it defies logic that one adult human …

Humanity

Weight Loss Doesn't Always Lead to Happiness

Research has shown that dropping pounds doesn't mean higher well-being.<p>To lose weight is to become happier. At least, this is the narrative voiced by countless health gurus, ubiquitous advertisements, and, sometimes, overly blunt friends and relatives.<p>Americans buy in to the weight-loss game with …

Why Men Are More Narcissistic Than Women

If there’s one thing you can say for craziness, it’s that it’s not sexist. Across entire populations, males and females face a pretty equal lifetime …

10 ways Christmas was celebrated during the First World War

‘Tis the season of “peace on Earth and goodwill to all men”. But how did the festive period fare during the First World War? Hannah Scally, senior …

U.S. birthrate hit new low in 2013 as women delayed having kids

American women gave birth to 3,932,181 babies in 2013 as the nation's birthrate fell to another record low, federal researchers reported Thursday.<p>The total number of births declined for the sixth straight year, with only 62.5 babies born for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. The …